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Goodbye, The Expanse

Friday, January 28th, 2022 No comments

I don’t watch as much TV as I used to and I’m way behind of most of the stuff that I do watch. So it’s not that often that I get to see a series finale. Two weeks ago today, the finale of The Expanse aired. I saw it the night before because it was released on Amazon a little early.

I got into The Expanse right away when I started watching it. I know a lot of people say it takes a few episodes or that whole first season to get into. But you are rewarded for your patience. I kept saying it was the best TV show that nobody was watching, though over the last few seasons I found out more and more people I know were watching it than I realized. The characters, the acting, the writing, the special effects, etc were all top notch.

I remember being very disappointed when Syfy cancelled it after season 3 and so happy when Amazon Prime rescued it. I don’t know how true it is, but it sounded like Jeff Bezos made the decision himself because he was a fan.

My viewing of the show was erratic after it moved to Amazon. I didn’t see most of season 4 and all of season 5 until the weeks before season 6 debuted. I got to watch it week to week again for season 6. Even though it was only 6 episodes, I got used to having new episodes to watch on Friday. And now it’s sad that I don’t have new episodes to watch.

I’m going to miss following the crew of the Rocinante and the Belters and the Earthers and the Martians. I’m looking forward to rewatching the series again, maybe in a few years. I’m sure I’ll pick up on things I missed because of my erratic viewing of the show. I may even try to give to books another try. Reading that many books was a daunting task when the series was about to start. And since the show didn’t cover the last 3 books, there’s hope for more of the show in the future.

Right now I’m just trying to find something to fill the Expanse-sized void in my TV schedule. I don’t know if there’s any outer space show out right now that comes close, but I’ll be keeping my eyes open.

Christmas 2021

Friday, December 31st, 2021 No comments

I remember thinking a while back that I was going to really get into and enjoy this holiday season. Reese’s diagnosis and the omicron variant put a damper on that. Reese has mostly good days, but he’s been very needy. If I go to take a shower I can hear him wining when I get out. I wasn’t getting a lot of sleep for a while. But it wasn’t all bad. I put a tree up for the first time in a while. At work we got gift cards for GrubHub so we could have a meal together on Zoom one day

I had my first Christmas dinner on the 23rd with my friends Aaron and Josh and some mutual friends. We ate a lot of food, played Bomberman and that Exploding Kittens like Star Wars card games, and did a secret elephant exchange.

I spent Christmas Day with my friend Nir doing the Chinese dinner on Christmas Day thing again, except this time we ordered takeout instead of dining in a restaurant.. My friends Robert, Alex, and Jer were there as well along with one of Nir’s friend who I didn’t know. We played Codenames and chatted and ate so much food. We never got around to watching a movie.

What did I get for Christmas and my birthday this year?
  • Nike shoes
  • plates
  • Sagrada (board game)
  • Mulholland Dr (Criterion Collection)
  • Wayfarer Series
  • protein pancakes with bourbon-aged maple syrups
  • Trailblazers calender
  • Captain America mug
  • chocolate candy
  • Star Trek pride shirt

    I didn’t really treat myself to anything this year like I normally do. Over the summer I got a new TV and receiver, both of which support 120fps so my gaming consoles will be able to live their best lives. Maybe I can count that.

    Overall I would say that this was a pretty good year. It was great getting out and being able to see people, go to events, and be social again. It’s hard to describe just how much that has meant, especially after 17 months of isolation.

    There’s been a damper later in the year. Reese’s diagnosis, a friend passed away, Betty White died today.

    Next year I have to make health a priority again. I was making so much progress, but the last few weeks my diet has gone to crap again and I haven’t been exercising at all. And of course I struggles getting around most of the year like when I went to Rose City Comic Con.

    I also want to make getting a fulltime job with benefit and PTO a priority. It’ll make me feel a little more at ease and I’ll actually be able to have some real vacation time. I’ve had 2 contracting jobs this year. Hopefully, I’ll be an FTE someone by the end of next year.

    Speaking of vacation time, I hope that my travel plans don’t get screwed up by one thing or another. I’m supposed to be going to Chicago in April. Let’s hope that happens.

    As usual, I want to wish everyone a happy New Year. Take care of each other!

  • Thanksgiving 2021

    Sunday, November 28th, 2021 No comments

    Thanksgiving weekend is ending. It was a good weekend.

    I worked maybe an hour on Thanksgiving and 2 or 3 hours on Friday. Monday – Wednesday were pretty light at work as well. I’ll be glad when I’m working full-time again and don’t have to work on the last 2 days of that week at least.

    I had Thanksgiving with my friends Aaron and Josh in Tigard, who I’ve been spending more and more time with lately. They ordered a pre-cooked dinner from New Seasons and all they had to do was warm it up. It was delicious. We played Xbox games and played a Star Wars themed card game that’s a lot like Exploding Kittens. I played games on my own at home before and after. The only thing I didn’t get around to doing was resurrecting my tradition of working out early on Thanksgiving day. At one point I thought I would work out at home after I got back from Aaron’s but I should have known that wouldn’t happen.

    Friday – Sunday, I was at home pretty much the whole time playing video games, watching TV and movies, reading a book, and making sure Reese was okay. It was a nice, relaxing weekend for the most part.

    I am fortunate.

    Rose City Comic Con 2021

    Sunday, September 12th, 2021 No comments

    This weekend was Rose City Comic Con. It was my first con since January 2020. Man if felt good to be at a con again.

    There were times leading up to the con where I thought about not going because of the delta variant that’s been so devastating lately. I waited a while to buy my passes and I didn’t purchase tickets for photo ops until the night before. At one point I was thinking the con might be cancelled, but going into that final week I was pretty sure it would go on. PAX (which I decided to skip this year) and DragonCon weren’t cancelled, after all.

    If was definitely different. Not as many people. Everyone in masks. It seems like there weren’t as many guests to begin with, but more than normal cancelled for various reasons leading up to it. By the time the con got here, there were only 3 people I was interested in meeting.

    I had actually planned on being there for only a few hours each day instead of spending almost all day there like I would in a normal year. I figured there wouldn’t be as much to see and I would limit my possible exposure to covid.

    I almost thought about skipping Friday, but I decided to get one of my photo ops this day, so I could squeeze in another photo op on Sunday. As I do sometimes, I drove on the first day and rode the train after that. I can’t remember how much I’ve talked about my health on here recently. I was pretty out of shape before than pandemic, but add on to that 18 months of not going anywhere and not eating badly. It was a struggle just getting around the con. I remember having to walk around pretty much the entire building at my last con and although I was tired, it wasn’t much of a struggle. This time, I had to take several breaks walking from the parking lot to the entrance. They were on opposite sides of the building. I only went to see one panel, Carl Weathers. I had to factor in a rest break when I decided when to head to the room it was in. And when I left for the Billy Boyd photo and when I left the con that day, I had to traverse the entire building 2 more times. My legs and back were killing me. I was so winded and sweaty. My heart felt like it was going to explode.

    The next day I had planned to do my normal cosplay photography stuff. Luckily, the train dropped me off right next to the Premium Pass entrance. I wish I had known about that entrance the day before. I got a few cosplay photos, but I was too tired to do more. I didn’t even walk around the show floor like I normally do. I got a photo with George Takei, but decided to skip his panel because I was so tired.

    Sometime Saturday night I decided to skip Sunday. I had a headache, my chest was hurting a little, and my body was sore. I ended up missing panels with Billy Boyd and members of The Boys cast. I also missed the photo op I had paid for with Jack Quaid. I hope he comes to Portland again soon.

    Even though it was tough on me, it was great being at a con again. I’m looking forward to the next one. In the meantime, I really have to focus on my health. I’m sure I’ve said that before, but I mean it this time. I’ve already been working with a trainer. It’s mostly diet that’s dragging my down.

    Summer Olympics 2021

    Sunday, August 15th, 2021 No comments

    The Summer Olympics ended last weekend. They were delayed a year because of the coronavirus. As much as I thought they should have been cancelled this year because of the coronavirus situation in Japan, I was excited by the time they finally arrived. But once they started, I wasn’t all that into it. I hate to think my interest in the Olympics is slowly waning over time. I started this blog 17 years ago this month right before the summer Olympics and even mentioned them in one of my first entries. Ah, that was the year I watched every show NBC hyped up during the Olympics like Hawaii, LAX, and Medical Investigation. They were all cancelled. However, we also got LOST on ABC a few weeks later. But I digress.

    Maybe part of the reason I wasn’t into the Olympics as much as I wanted to be was because I wasn’t watching primetime coverage. I usually had a stream on while I was working during the day and I watched whatever was playing at the time. I wasn’t going out of my way to watch anything in particular and I’m sure the most popular events were in primetime on NBC. I didn’t get to see any diving, gymnastics, track, or swimming that I usually enjoy other than brief recaps. I didn’t see any rugby at all, which I really enjoyed watching in 2016. I did get to see a lot of volleyball (indoor and beach), tennis, and water polo.

    The time difference is usually issue. There were a couple of times at least when I was watching something and then realized I already had heard the outcome of the earlier in the day. The competitions did feel different. I think it may have been because spectators weren’t allowed in the stands. I didn’t get to hear the personal stories of many of the athletes, which makes the events more exciting. Maybe not having gamily members in the stands contributed to that or maybe all of that was in primetime on NBC

    I’m glad there’s only 3 years until the next Summer Olympics and in 7 years they will be in L.A. I hope to attend the LA games. I’ve never been into the Winter Olympics as much, but maybe I’ll try to watch them in a February

    Good Times, Bad Times

    Saturday, July 31st, 2021 No comments

    This has been another busy month. Since I’ve been vaccinated, it seems like every weekend has been packed with activity. Summer always seems busy because Portland only had a few months of non-rainy weather each year. Add onto that the fact that we had go a year without being able to go out because of covid-19. Today is my first weekend day that in a while that I’ve decided I’m not going anywhere. It’s nice to relax and recharge. I just hope the delta variant doesn’t disrupt our lives too much.

    I’ve seen my friends a lot and not just on weekends. We celebrated one person’s birthday 2 weekends in a row and had a wine get together on a weeknight this past week, among other things. We went to a wine tasting out in Oregon wine country (I think that was this month). An old friend, Aaron, came back to Portland to visit with his boyfriend and his (Aaron’s) twin brother. I met the brother last time he was here. I miss Aaron a lot. He’s was one of the 1st people in Portland to make me feel welcome. He invited me to so many of his parties and night out excursions. That day I met some of Aaron’s local friends I had never met before and I’ve seen them a few times since.

    PDX Gaymers had an outside in the park event that I refused to call a picnic. I first scheduled this in April and had no idea at the time how open things would be or how comfortable people would be around each other. It was originally supposed to be our 1st in-person post-lockdown event. A few days before I suggested people bring food if they wanted to, so it ended up being a picnic I guess. I brought a cooler, which ended up full of drinks that I got to take home. About 35 people showed up to this event, making it the biggest since I took over as leader in October 2016. We even had to borrow a couple of tables from an neighboring picnic area. It was so much fun! A lot of the time I wasn’t even playing anything. I was just trying to make sure people were playing something. I think everyone had a good time. I learned a lot that I’ll keep in mind for next year.

    I’ve seen a ton of movies lately, thanks to Regal Unlimited. I’m going to see 2 more this week.

    At work, full-time employees got every Friday off in July along with a 1 week in August. As a contractor I don’t get that and technically I’m not supposed to work. However, my manager gave me permission to work those days, adjust my schedule so that I can get those days off and still get 40 hours for the week, or just take some off. I’ve done the first 2 so far. I think I will work that week in August., but I’m not sure. Either way, it’s been nice having some extra days off this summer.

    I found out this week that 1 person I went to school with and 1 person I met online because of LOST are in their final days because of cancer. I hope that we really have more treatment options soon. This has been a bad month for friends and their pets and not all of them recovered. Reese has been exhibiting some weird behavior lately. Of course, over the past 13 years I’ve always gotten worried when he started acting weird.

    I’m busy and happy and fortunate. Eager to see what the rest of the year brings.

    How about a few pictures from this month?

    Let the Good Times Roll

    Monday, May 31st, 2021 No comments

    This month has been amazing. Getting to go out and do things again has been great!

    I went to happy hour at Robert and Alex’s place. I went to movie night at Aaron’s place. I’ve been to see 3 movies in the movie theater. I’ve gone to 2 clubs. I’ve been back to my gym. I wasn’t unmasked the whole time. I followed the rules at each establishment and sometimes wore a mask even when I didn’t have to.

    Also, work has been going well. I’m really enjoying my job right now.

    I was supposed to be in Sunriver with friends this weekend, but I was left without a dogsitter at the last minute, so I had to stay home. Maybe I need more close dog owner friends, not that I would feel comfortable asking a friend to take care of my dogs. It was nice to have my first holiday or vacation day off since last July. It’s weird waking up on a weekday and not working. It’s been a while.

    Christmas 2020

    Thursday, December 31st, 2020 No comments

    Christmas was last Friday. It was another day in quarantine with not much happening.

    I worked half a day. I streamed Overwatch for a few hours after work. I had Chinese takeout and watched Wonder Woman 1984 on HBO Max. The food was good, but the movie wasn’t nearly as good as the first one.

    Hoping for better times next year. And snow.

    What did I get for Christmas and my birthday this year.
  • a map of Portland neighborhoods poster
  • lots of fish food
  • fish cards and stickers
  • a bristlr worm trap
  • star wars card deck
  • an exercise ball
  • a pack of Reese’s trees
  • Star Trek: Picard Season 1
  • Overwatch Monopoly
  • Wakanda Forever board game
  • Star Trek Five-Year Mission board game
  • I treated myself to an Oculus Quest 2, an Xbox Series X, and a PlayStation 5, though the PS5 won’t be here for another couple of weeks.

    I’m at a point where I’m tired of hearing about how rough this year has been. Hopefully this will be one of the last times I mention it. Everyone can go into the new year with a new outlook and attitude

    There were many positives this year: finally getting a new job, making health a priority, getting to see Xander again, getting into a streaming habit, taking part in all the virtual events with PDX Gaymers, helping elect a new president elected, getting new gadgets, spending so much time with the dogs, and so on.

    As soon as the pandemic hit, I decided I wasn’t going to stress over that list of goals I set last year. It’s okay if I wasn’t productive as I wanted to be. I did meet a few of them I think. I’m not going to bother setting any for next year. Hopefully before the end of the year we’ll be able to start having game nights or going to happy hours again.

    Time will tell.

    Unfortunately, I had to work today and I’m working a half day tomorrow. Tonight, I finished a book to meet my book goal for the year. Now I plan to play video games, watch TV, and chat with friends while enjoying the most expensive bottle of wine I’ve ever bought.

    As always, have a great year and take care of each other!

    Wizard World Portland 2020

    Friday, January 31st, 2020 No comments

    This past weekend Wizard World Comic Con came to town. I didn’t realize it until the 1st day, but I hadn’t been to a Wizard World Comic Con since 2014. Something’s always coming up. They think they changed the time of year a few times and maybe it was cancelled one year, but I’m glad it’s back in January.

    I went Friday late afternoon and the 1st thing I noticed how short the lines to get in were and how few people were there overall compared to Rose City Comic Con and to the last time I attended. They weren’t using up nearly as much of the convention floor and were not using the big rooms for panels. It makes me wonder if Portland just can’t support 2 big conventions like this or if of Portland is just more loyal to the locally founded RCCC. Whatever the case, I hope Wizard World continues to come back.

    One thing I liked about this con compared to Rose City is that it felt far more laid back. You didn’t have as many people screaming orders and herding you the whole time. The celebrities seemed more accessible. I saw John Glover go watch the band play on the entertainment stage and he started dancing. The food court area was near the bathrooms everyone was using on the floor. Sometimes I would sit there and relax if I had a long break in my schedule. I saw people like Chandler Riggs, Sam Levine, Michael Rosenbaum, Erica Durance, and Laura Vandervoort go to the bathrooms that everyone else was using. No I didn’t bother them because I didn’t want to be creepy. I’m just used to the celebrities at cons being out of sight unless they were on a panel or doing an autograph signing or photo op and secreted off when they were done. There weren’t people or signs saying to not take photos of people at their tables and I feel like I could’ve gone up to anyone to say hi. I didn’t though.

    They had an entertainment stage at the entrance where they would have bands playing, karaoke, trivia, etc. I didn’t realize until after the first day that the person MCing the events and dancing around was Kato Kaelin, who gained notoriety during the OJ trial. I went to see panels featuring Chandler Riggs, Ross Marquand, Holly Marie Combs, Emily Swann, Smallville cast members Tom Welling, Michael Rosenbaum, John Glover, Erica Durance, and Laura Vandervoort, and Craig Parker. I had my picture taken with Thomas Dekker and the Smallville cast. I ended up missing panels with Thomas Dekker, Sam Levine, and James Marsters so I get my Smallville cast photo done on Saturday so I could skip the last day of the con. There just wasn’t enough going on and I needed a rest.

    On Saturday night Tom Welling and Michael Rosenbaum did their Smallville Nights show that they have been doing in different cities. There’s no recording of any kind allowed at these. That apparently is the reason why Tom was convinced to do it. He’s more of an introvert and I don’t think he really likes conventions, but this allows him to be himself.
    There were a couple of times where Michael was goofing off and would get right in my face and yell, but it was all in fun. They told stories, acted out scenes from the show, and then would direct audience members in acting out those same scenes. I got picked to play Lana Lang in the graveyard scene in the pilot while someone else played Clark. I think Tom thought it would be funny for me to wear a wig, not realizing it wasn’t my first time in a wig. They all thought I looked good.

    I spent over $500 on Smallville experiences that weekend. I don’t regret it at all. The online communities around Smallville, Heroes, LOST, and other shows helped me get through hard times when I was feeling lonely and different back in Mississippi. I made many friends and continue to be friends with them to this day. I’ve met many in person, traveled with them, and we’ve stayed in each other’s homes. I don’t mind spending money to spend a little time with some of the cast members that helped make it possible.

    I had a lot of fun at Wizard World Portland this year. It was low key and I liked that. The first day I didn’t even take my DSLR with me. Once I saw how low key it was, I decided not to bring it the rest of the weekend. All of my pics and videos were made using my Pixel 4. It was nice not having to carry my big camera around and not feeling stressed to get as many good pictures as possible.

    Christmas 2019

    Tuesday, December 31st, 2019 No comments

    Wow! I had so little Christmas spirit this year! Between not working, being by myself so much, and the warm weather, it didn’t feel like Christmas. I didn’t start listening to Christmas music until Christmas morning and after that I was done with it.

    Like Thanksgiving, I thought I was going to be spending the day hanging out alone with the dogs. Two days before, my friend Nir invited me to a Chinese dinner and a movie night he was organizing. The day after this I was invited to dinner at my former co-worker Aaron’s house, but I had to turn them down. My friend Jer and a guy named Dallas who I had recently met at a PDX Gaymers event were there for Chinese dinner, as well as some people that I had never met. I knew that people went out to restaurants on Christmas, but I didn’t know Chinese dinner on Christmas Day was a thing. This dinner was an experience. Some people’s orders weren’t quite right. The water tasted bad. I was pretty much told I couldn’t have what I wanted and I was told what I would get instead. After dinner, we saw Little Women, which was really good. I wasn’t expecting to like it as much as I did.

    A few days after Christmas, we had a holiday party at Alex and Robert Lee-Olson’s house. It was a great time. I got to see some people I hadn’t seen in while. I’ve been a little bit of a hermit lately and some people’s schedules or location make it hard to get together often.

    I don’t care what people say, presents are one of the parts of Christmas I still enjoy. What did I get this year? I hope I’m not forgetting anything.

    • dog treats for Max and Reese
    • a book on dog massages
    • Yooka Laylee and the Impossible Lair
    • The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl by Theodora Goss
    • a Black Panther build a bear
    • Astral Chain
    • a cross
    • Thor, Dr Strange, and Tony Stark pop vinyls
    • Reese’s candy
    • A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms by George R.R. Martin
    • many wonderful cards
    • some stuff I treated myself to
      • a web camera
      • board games Pret-a-Porter, Ecos, 7th Continent, Shadows of Brimstone, Anomia

    2019 was a tough year. Two of my closest Portland friends moved away, Xander and then Cody. I don’t think I ever wrote about Cody leaving. I lost my job a few months after being promoted. I got sick with a bad sinus infection in October and have been sick pretty much since. I’m feeling the effects of not eating well and not exercising. Sitting here at home all day has taken a physical and emotional toll on me. I remember writing about how optimistic I was earlier in the year, but all that optimism left for a while. I’m feeling optimistic again about the new year, but if things don’t change soon, I could be right where I was.

    I decided to set goals for next year. Since I successfully completed every goal the last time I did this, I think one reason I stopped doing it for a while was so I wouldn’t fail. Here’s my list.

    • Lose at least 30 lbs
    • Go on at least 1 date
    • Arrange at least 1 dog play date
    • Leave the state of Oregon at least 3 times
    • Beat at least 3 video games
    • Learn at least 1 new board game
    • Attend at least 1 Meetup I haven’t been to before
    • Buy a new bike and ride it
    • Go to a convention or festival that’s new to me
    • Arrange a photoshoot so I can put my photography equipment to good use
    • Don’t be so self conscious about how I look. Post at least 12 pics of myself on social media

    We enter a new decade tomorrow. This past decade has been great to me. I spent the first 2 years in Starkville and last 8 years in Portland. Deciding to take a risk, uproot my life, and move to Portland was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. This decade has had some struggles: heartbreak, unhappiness with health and career, and some bouts of loneliness and depression. But overall it’s been great. Don’t they say your 30s are the best years of your life? So far I can’t disagree with that. Some of things I’ve done in this past decade:

    • moved across the country
    • met a lot of online friends, traveled with them, stayed in each other’s homes
    • became a social butterfly
    • traveled out of country for the first time
    • did a lot more traveling than I did before
    • became a leader at work and in the community
    • became a dog parent for the 2nd time
    • started podcasting
    • worked for one of the top tech companies in the world
    • dated a guy for the first time
    • started going to conventions
    • took up new hobbies
    • made many great local friends

    I hope everyone has a happy New Year and a great decade! Take care of each other!